“Dawkins, for example, argues as a scientist that religion is comparable to a mental virus that can be explained through evolution, that religious education is a form of child abuse, that religious believers are delusional, and that in contrast, atheists are representative of a healthy, proscience mind.”
This quote, taken from ‘What’s next for science communication? promising directions and lingering distractions’, highlights the need for science communication to take a more scientific approach in more modern medias. the above quote is specifically an example of how one scientist can promote the division between the scientific community and the lay public with his own agenda.
Essentially it’s ‘what not to do’ in science communication.
The article looked at the way framing can be used by scientists to communicate their work. framing is described as an ‘unavoidable reality’, and so it can be used to motivate and generate interest in the general public. Specifically the article looked at the ‘future of science communication and the way we can use framing in new forms, such as digital media (e.g. BLOGS.). The use of modern media is undeniably a powerful force shaping the publics opinion.
The article looks at how the correct use of framing can help the science communication process. So instead of fuelling debate and isolation of the scientific community- like the above quote does so well- we could use certain frames. the above quote was to promote the teaching of evolution in schools (more of an attack on religion really), a more successful method could be using a ‘social progress’ frame. To show how evolution is the modern ‘building blocks for advances in science and agriculture’.
More frames can be seen below, and each could be used to present certain scientific topics to the community:
The future of science communication relies on using more modern forms of media (like our blogs) and to really promote scientific knowledge to the public a more scientific approach needs to be taken (tell the ACTUAL SCIENCE). To help in understanding this ‘actual science’ a public dialogue should occur to encourage public participation.
Finally, to get a public dialogue and participation it is important to connect to public values… otherwise why should anyone care?
Do you think this is true? my personal response to this last notion is that despite the importance of connecting to public values it is also important to create and shape public values. Not to the extent that we are ‘telling people how to think’ but definitely to promote certain important scientific concepts that may become important to the public through our communication. What are your views on this? is it unethical? is it essential?
Matthew C. Nisbet and Dietram A. Scheufele ‘WHAT’S NEXT FOR SCIENCE COMMUNICATION? PROMISING DIRECTIONS AND LINGERING DISTRACTIONS’ American Journal of Botany 96(10): 1767–1778. 2009.